Virginia Democrat accused of disrespecting military service

The Republican challenging Rep. Jim Moran in Virginia slammed the Democrat Wednesday morning, saying he implied that military service is not sufficient public service experience to run for office.

In an interview on Fox News's Fox and Friends, Patrick Murray agreed with his interviewer's assessment that Moran's remarks were insulting, saying that for Moran, "military service is not public service and we're just earning a paycheck."

Murray also said that the incumbent had exhibited "disdain" toward the military. "He's just recently voted twice to not support the troops in Afghanistan, which I think is unconscionable, as well as his comments about myself, which reflect on all service members and their families," he said.

Moran's words, recorded at what appears to be a town hall forum in Arlington County on October 6, were: "What they do is they find candidates -- usually stealth candidates -- that haven't been in office, haven't served or performed in any kind of public service. My opponent is typical, frankly." Murray had a 24-year career in the Army before retiring last year to seek Moran's seat.

Moran later told NBC that his words were misconstrued, and that he meant Murray had not gotten involved in the community.

"Serving in the military doesn't prevent you from getting involved in the community, and Mr. Murray has simply decided not to be involved in the civic life of the community," he said.

Moran's remarks could prove especially dangerous because Virginia's 8th District, which borders Washington, is a military hub that includes the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery. And military experience is generally seen as an election credential, particularly since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Two Senate candidates this cycle -- Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal and Illinois Republican Mark Kirk -- were both caught embellishing their service records.

Indeed, Murray, who is down in the polls, says Moran's remarks have provided momentum and support for his campaign around the country. He'll still need a lot of help, though. According to National Review, internal polling from his campaign shows him trailing Moran by 13 points.

Click here for a glimpse of National Journal's new website.

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